Wild game equals flavor!
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fatty steak now and then, but the versatility and distinct taste of the wild game and fish that Mississippi has to offer is something special.
That being said, not everyone likes the flavors of wild game that I’ve come to love and highlight in my recipes. Some even say that dreaded word—“gamey”—when they discuss wild game. Well, this dish was created for those that might normally shy away from what I refer to as “natural” taste! There is nothing gamey or wild about these delicious lettuce wraps.
Fall and winter are my favorite times of year; the weather is tolerable, hunting season is in full swing, and the local produce is diverse. Satsumas, grapefruit, and navels are all grown throughout the south and are typically canned, preserved, or turned into tasty marmalade due to their bountiful production. Citrus is my favorite local produce and is plentiful throughout the winter, so I frequently pair it with my favorite wild game protein.
With most wild game seasons open in the winter months, this recipe is a great way to help clear out the freezer and pantry of last year’s wild game and citrus marmalade. And it is delicious.
- 1 ½ Pounds of Duck, Venison, or Wild Hog Protein
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil
- 1 Cup of Diced Red Onion
- ½ Cup of Diced Leeks
- ½ Cup of Diced Fennel
- ¼ Cup of Diced Celery
- ¼ Cup of Diced Green Onion
- ¾ Cup of Shredded Carrots
- 1 ½ Teaspoons of Chinese Five Spice
- 2 Tablespoons of Grated Ginger
- 1 Tablespoon of Grated Garlic
- ¾ Cup of Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce
- 1/3 Cup of Orange Marmalade
- 1 Container of Butter Lettuce Leaves
- Heat a cast iron pan or sauté pan to medium-high heat. Toss in the butter and the sesame oil.
- While the pan is heating, mince the red onion, leeks, fennel, celery, and green onion.
- When the butter melts and incorporates with the sesame oil, place the minced red onion, leeks, and fennel in the pan. Season with ½ teaspoon of the Chinese five spice then cook for 3-5 minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, cut your choice of wild game protein into small ¼-inch pieces. If you prefer, you can substitute ground game meat of your liking.
- Once the vegetables start to brown and caramelize, add the meat and remaining teaspoon of Chinese five spice, and brown for about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the carrots and green onions in the pan and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- After the carrots and green onions are incorporated into the meat mixture, add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and orange marmalade to the pan. Cook the sauces until reduced by half and incorporated with the meat and vegetable mixture.
- While the sauces are reducing, rinse the lettuce leaves and pat them dry, being careful not to tear them.
- Once the sauces are reduced, remove from heat, place in a serving bowl, and let cool for 3-5 minutes. The lettuce wrap filling should be warm but not warm enough to wilt the lettuce leaves.
- Serve the filling on the leaves and top with your favorite fixings. Some of my favorites are pickled red onions, chow mein noodles, cilantro, and crispy jalapenos or anything to give additional crunch!